Dennis Franz

Actor


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In his two-and-a-half-hour Archive interview, Dennis Franz talks about his early years breaking into the theater, including his work performing as a regular member of the Organic Theater Company in Chicago in the early 1970s. He describes acting in several Robert Altman and Brian DePalma films and details his work on Hill Street Blues - outlining his storylines and speaking of his experiences acting with the ensemble cast. Franz discusses the short-lived baseball series Bay City Blues, its subsequent cancellation and his return to Hill Street Blues as "Norman Buntz" - a character different from the one he previously played. He comments on the spin-off series Beverly Hills Buntz, and then details his time on NYPD Blue. Franz speaks in depth about his character, "Andy Sipowicz," (by Franz's count, his 28th role as a cop), his suggestions for his character (including an idea to introduce a mixed relationship for him, which was rejected,) and his reaction to the nudity and violence on the show. He shares what he believes distinguishes the show from other cop shows, talks of working with writer-producer David Milch, and recalls stories of NYPD Blue castmates. Stephen J. Abramson conducted the interview at the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences headquarters in North Hollywood, CA on October 12, 2006.

"The legacy ['of NYPD Blue'] is a tribute to the men and women who do police work ... police work is something so much more difficult than just chasing bad guys and wearing a badge and carrying a gun. Life is so much more complicated and the show is a dedication to them."

People Talking About ...
Highlights
Dennis Franz on the positive traits of his NYPD Blue character, "Andy Sipowicz"
Dennis Franz on his character, "Andy Sipowicz" on NYPD Blue; on the writing on the show
Dennis Franz on the final episode of NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on the legacy of NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on the legacy of Hill Street Blues
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On growing up and his early childhood influences
On high school and college and when he thought acting could be a serious career; on jobs he had other than acting
On how life experiences, like being in the military, affected his acting experience
On working with The Organic Theater Company; on his discovery of his love of film acting; on working with David Mamet
On how projects that began at The Organic Theater Company became television shows
On his first appearance on television and how he first got cast in a role
On how he got to know Robert Altman and his work with him
On how he met Brian DePalma and his work on his films

Chapter 2

On Hill Street Blues, and his characters, "Sal Bennedetto" and "Norman Buntz;" on working with Steven Bochco; on the show, Bay City Blues
On the traits of his character "Norman Buntz;" on returning to a show playing a different character; on the popularity of Hill Street Blues and his favorite "Norman Buntz" storyline
On the essential differences between "Bennedetto" and "Buntz" and Franz's character preference
On researching a part and his approach to a new role
On the on-set chemistry between cast and crew of Hill Street Blues
On working with his co-stars and with Dick Wolf
On working with a series of directors on Hill Street Blues; on a discussion of three highlighted directors

Chapter 3

On working with his co-stars from Hill Street Blues
On how camera technique affects performance as an actor; on his relationship with the writers on Hill Street Blues; on his suggestion for a mixed relationship for one of his characters
On learning of Hill Street Blues ending; on his favorite and least favorite elements of Hill Street Blues; on the legacy of Hill Street Blues
On the Hill Street Blues spin-off show, Beverly Hills Buntz; on type-casting
On the beginnings of NYPD Blue and his character, "Andy Sipowicz"
On what makes NYPD Blue stand out as different from other cop shows; on how real cops respond to Franz
On the initial resistance of affiliates to air NYPD Blue; on its subsequent publicity and eventual acceptance across television markets; on what made the show provocative and different from other shows
On the positive traits of his character, "Andy Sipowicz"

Chapter 4

On the qualities of his character "Andy Sipowicz" on NYPD Blue; on the focus of the show; on the dynamic of the relationship between "John Kelly" and "Andy Sipowicz"
On "Sipowicz's" wardrobe; on his malapropisms; on inspiration for "Sipowicz;" on "Sipowicz's" love life; on signature moments of NYPD Blue
On the choreography of NYPD Blue; on becoming comfortable with the dialogue on the show; on last minute revisions to the scripts; on the collaboration between David Milch and Steven Bochco; on why David Caruso left NYPD Blue; on the chemistry on set during the first season; on working with the cast of NYPD Blue

Chapter 5

On working with the cast and crew of NYPD Blue; on the father/ son relationship between the characters of "Sipowicz" and "Danny" on NYPD Blue; on how NYPD Blue handled the 9/11 terrorist attacks; on the evolution of "Sipowicz" and "Sipowicz's" wife throughout the course of NYPD Blue
On the final episode of NYPD Blue; on where Franz thinks "Sipowicz" would be five or ten years after the final episode; on why NYPD Blue came to a close; on conversations with Steven Bochco regarding changes on the show; on working with Mark-Paul Gosselaar
On his Emmy nominations and Emmy awards; on the legacy of NYPD Blue; on Franz's proudest professional achievement; on any professional regrets; on current projects; on advice to aspiring actors, on how he would like to be remembered
Shows

Bay City Blues

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Dennis Franz on working on the series Bay City Blues
Dennis Franz on what it was like working on Bay City Blues

Beverly Hills Buntz

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Dennis Franz on the Hill Street Blues spin-off show, Beverly Hills Buntz; on type-casting

Hill Street Blues

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Dennis Franz on working on Hill Street Blues as "Sal Bennedetto" and "Norman Buntz"
Dennis Franz on working on Hill Street Blues

Howdy Doody

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Dennis Franz on Howdy Doody, the first television show he became aware of as a child

NYPD Blue

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Dennis Franz on bringing authenticity to his role on N.Y.P.D. Blue
Dennis Franz on working on NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on the character of "Andy Sipowicz" on NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on the collaborations and chemistry on NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on working on NYPD Blue
Topics

9/11

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Dennis Franz on how NYPD Blue was impacted by 9/11

Characters & Catchphrases

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Dennis Franz on the traits of his character "Norman Buntz;" on returning to a show playing a different character; on the popularity of Hill Street Blues and his favorite "Norman Buntz" storyline
Dennis Franz on the positive traits of his NYPD Blue character, "Andy Sipowicz"
Dennis Franz on his character of "Sipowicz" on NYPD Blue

Emmy Awards

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Dennis Franz on his Emmy nominations and Emmy awards

Television Industry

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Dennis Franz on being voted "Villain of the Year" by TV Guide
Professions

Actor

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On his first appearance on television and how he first got cast in a role
Dennis Franz on researching a part and his approach to a new role
Dennis Franz on type-casting
Dennis Franz on choreography and continuity of NYPD Blue and handling challenges of complicated dialogue
Genres

Children's Programming

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Dennis Franz on Howdy Doody, the first television show he became aware of as a child

Cop/Detective/Mystery Series

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Dennis Franz on bringing authenticity to his role on N.Y.P.D. Blue
Dennis Franz on working on Hill Street Blues
Dennis Franz on working on Hill Street Blues
Dennis Franz on working on NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on working on NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on working on NYPD Blue

Sports

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Dennis Franz on working on Bay City Blues
People

Robert Altman

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Dennis Franz on meeting and working with Robert Altman

Hal Ashby

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Dennis Franz on his involvement with Beverly Hills Buntz

Steven Bochco

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Dennis Franz on his response to publicity NYPD Blue received
Dennis Franz on Steven Bochco's involvement with NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on Steven Bochco's view of the evolution of "Sipowicz" and "Sipowicz's" wife on NYPD Blue
Dennis Franz on Steven Bochco's view of the longevity and relevancy of NYPD Blue

Amy Brenneman

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Dennis Franz on working with Amy Brenneman on NYPD Blue

Thomas Carter

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Dennis Franz on his involvement with Beverly Hills Buntz

David Caruso

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Dennis Franz on working with David Caruso
Dennis Franz on why David Caruso left NYPD Blue and the chemistry on set during the first season

Gordon Clapp

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Dennis Franz on working with Gordon Clapp on NYPD Blue

Bill Clark

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Dennis Franz on working with Bill Clark on NYPD Blue

Michael Conrad

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Dennis Franz on working with Michael Conrad

Mark-Paul Gosselaar

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Dennis Franz on working with Mark-Paul Gosselaar on NYPD Blue

Veronica Hamel

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Dennis Franz on working with Veronica Hamel

Peter Jurasik

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Dennis Franz on working with Peter Jurasik on Hill Street Blues

Sharon Lawrence

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Dennis Franz on "Sipowicz's" love life and working with Sharon Lawrence

David Mamet

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Dennis Franz on working with David Mamet at The Organic Theater Company

Joe Mantegna

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Dennis Franz on working with Joe Mantegna at The Organic Theater Company

Ed Marinaro

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Dennis Franz on working with Ed Marinaro

James McDaniel

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Dennis Franz on working with James McDaniel on NYPD Blue

David Milch

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Dennis Franz on working with David Milch
Dennis Franz on his character suggestions to David Milch
Dennis Franz on David Milch's involvement with Beverly Hills Buntz
Dennis Franz on working with the dialogue written by David Milch

Debra Monk

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Dennis Franz on "Sipowicz's" love life and working with Debra Monk

Gail O'Grady

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Dennis Franz on working with Gail O'Grady on NYPD Blue

Brian De Palma

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Dennis Franz on working with Brian DePalma

Charlotte Ross

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Dennis Franz on "Sipowicz's" love life and working with Charlotte Ross

Alan Rudolph

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Dennis Franz on working with Alan Rudolph

Rick Schroder

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Dennis Franz on working with Rick Schroder on NYPD Blue

James Sikking

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Dennis Franz on working with James Sikking on Hill Street Blues

Jimmy Smits

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Dennis Franz on working with Jimmy Smits on NYPD Blue

Sherry Stringfield

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Dennis Franz on working with Sherry Stringfield on NYPD Blue

Betty Thomas

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Dennis Franz on working with Betty Thomas on Hill Street Blues

Daniel J. Travanti

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Dennis Franz on working with Daniel J. Travanti

Nicholas Turturro

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Dennis Franz on working with Nicholas Turturro on NYPD Blue

Rick Wallace

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Dennis Franz on working with Rick Wallace

Michael Warren

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Dennis Franz on working with Michael Warren

Bruce Weitz

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Dennis Franz on working with Bruce Weitz

Dick Wolf

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Dennis Franz on working with Dick Wolf

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